Mero Technologies is hoping to clean up – literally. The Toronto-based technology firm closed a $3.1 million CAD ($2.5 million USD) seed round in July that it will use in its mission to improve the cleanliness of commercial buildings.
Mero uses Internet of Things (loT) sensors to monitor hygiene products, such as toilet paper, and to gauge pedestrian traffic in large buildings, in order to ensure they are efficiently cleaned.
“This investment is especially timely as we all place a renewed focus on workplace health and hygiene as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The seed round, led by Fresco Capital and IX Labs, will go toward building what the firm is calling the Mero Marketplace. The company previously raised $880,792 CAD ($700,000 USD) in a pre-seed round of funding.
Co-founder and CEO Nathan Mah told BetaKit that the marketplace will allow commercial building managers to tender out contracts for cleaning products and services. The marketplace will enable the bulk purchase and procurement of things such as paper towels and soaps.
“We’re going to go one level up in the supply chain and create inventory management for that property manager,” Mah said. “As the product goes live in the field we can basically track it and send that information to the suppliers and distributors for those building managers.”
“That’s kind of the vision we have,” the CEO added.
Mayuran Yogarajah, head of IX Labs said: “This investment is especially timely as we all place a renewed focus on workplace health and hygiene as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
IX Labs is the investment arm of the global ad tech company, Index Exchange. IX Labs invests in pre-seed, and seed-stage startups across FinTech, HealthTech and loT. Yogarajah told BetaKit that the funding for Mero represented IX Lab’s first investment in a startup since it launched in 2019.
Mero also hopes to use some of the funds from the round to expand into the United States, even as it has begun growing its business beyond the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to other commercial buildings in Vancouver, Calgary, and soon to Ottawa, and Montreal.
Currently, the private company of 16 people has nearly 10,000 sensors placed in close to 100 buildings in the GTA. Mah said Mero targets major commercial buildings, and that most are 10 or more storeys tall.
Building owners pay a subscription for each sensor they deploy per month. Mero’s peel-and-stick sensors can be applied to everything from soaps and sanitizers to paper products, informing cleaning staff when supply levels are becoming low.
Mah said the monitoring adds up to roughly a 35 percent savings in supplies alone.
While Mero does have some competitors, Mah said they’re in adjacent spaces. Fellow Canadian startup InnerSpace, for example, uses sensors in buildings to track traffic so that building managers have metrics on such things as occupancy, the amount of time people spend on the site, and how frequently.
Such metrics enable managers to better understand how people use a building’s space, and adjust accordingly. However, Mah contends Mero’s hardware is faster and easier to install, taking less than 30 seconds a sensor to set up.
Mah described other, competing platforms as horizontal, doing cleaning, HVAC, and other tasks with sensors for each one, and notes while the other platforms spread themselves across different applications, Mero concentrates on the cleaning of commercial buildings.
“We’re purely focused on cleaning because we really think that vertical is going to be the way this industry really succeeds or expands in the future,” Mah said.